Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz not only plans to keep playing in 2019, but Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Cruz has hopes of landing a multi-year contract as a free agent this winter. Cruz will be an interesting test case within a market that has been increasingly unkind to veteran bat-only players over the last two offseasons. He turns 38 tomorrow and his list of suitors is almost surely limited to American League teams since Cruz has become a full-time DH. On the plus side, Cruz is still hitting as well as ever, with 21 homers and a .273/.358/.569 slash line through 288 PA. Teams are increasingly preferring to rotate several players through their DH spot rather than employ a full-time designated hitter, though Cruz’s production has been so excellent in recent years that you’d think at least a couple of clubs would be willing to trade lineup versatility for a big bat.
Some more from around the AL West…
- The Athletics are getting calls about their relievers, as a scout tells Peter Gammons (Twitter link) that Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino, and Ryan Buchter have all drawn interest from multiple teams. Treinen has been mentioned as a potential trade chip, though Gammons says that Oakland has declined all offers for the closer. Treinen has two more years of control remaining via arbitration, while Buchter has three and Trivino only made his MLB debut this season. The A’s would surely need quite a bit to part with any of the trio, though a trade isn’t out of the question if the team is considering buying at the deadline. The A’s still have a big deficit to make up in both the AL West and wild card races, though an 11-2 run in their last 13 games has given them an impressive 45-38 record.
- With the Rangers facing a lot of uncertainty with their starting rotation in 2019, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram suggests that Yovani Gallardo could potentially return to the team next season. Gallardo hasn’t shown much in three starts for Texas, though he would likely be a low-cost signing in the offseason and would give the Rangers some veteran depth as they juggle their various pitching options going forward.
- While the Angels’ farm system is usually rated around the middle of the pack in most organization rankings, this represents a major improvement from just a couple of years ago, when the prospect-starved Halos were considered to have one of the worst collections of minor league talent of any team in recent memory. The Athletic’s Steve Dilbeck (subscription required) looks at how the Angels have rebuilt their player development system under GM Billy Eppler, with a particular organization-wide focus on finding athletic players. “You’ve seen over the course of [Eppler’s] drafts a very common thread,” Angels director of scouting Matt Swanson said. “Athleticism and not being afraid of high upside players and understanding that we can bring guys in and get them bigger, faster and stronger.”